[January 05, 2017] Updated Opening Line from Dragan Paunović:
English Opening, Four Knights Variation – Kingside Fianchetto with 4… d5

[Line 015 : 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5]

This update is a small tribute to our late colleague GM Dragan Paunović. In memory of our dear friend, our Editorial Board will continue updating his lines and articles.

After the usual 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 we recommend the sideline with 6… Nxc3 to the beginners. By far the most common continuation is 6… Nb6 7. O-O Be7, where White has a couple of plans.

The idea of 8. a3 (Line 016) or 8. Rb1 is an early b2-b4 advance. Against the latter option, Black is able to equalize with 8… O-O, but this task is easier to succeed with 8… a5.

Move 8. d3 is often followed by Be3 and Rc1, where again Black is able to get quite comfortable positions.

White’s queenside fianchetto (8. b3 with Bb2) is another possibility for White, and we recommend it to club level players.

[Diagram: White to Move] White Knight on e4 is under attack, and Black would be very happy if his opponent plays Ne4-c3, trading the bad Knight from a2. So, how should White continue from the diagrammed position?

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[January 04, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Gruenfeld Defense, Exchange Variation

[Line 139 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5]

After the forced 4… Nxd5, apart from the main 5. e4 (Lines 140-145), White has a couple of popular alternatives.

Move 5. Bd2 is frequently seen even in grandmaster practice. White plans, after 6. e4 Nxc3, to take the Knight on c3 with the Bishop. Black can oppose his opponent’s plan with 5… Nb6, attacking the d4-pawn, where White usually reacts with 6. Nf3, 6. e3, 6. Bf4 or 6. Bg5, though even a gambit move 6. e4 deserves attention. After 5… Bg7 6. e4 moves 6… Nb6 and 6… Nxc3 are of about the same strength.

From other lines covered in this opening line, 5. g3 and 5. Na4 are the most common, where in both cases, Black has a few paths to equality.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black is behind in development and his King is stuck in the center. What is the best way to proceed as White and get a very strong attack?

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[January 02, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Bojan Vučković:
Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense – Main Line with 9… Bd7

[Line 379 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Nc3 Bd7]

The idea of 9… Bd7 is generaly connected with the plan involving Kc8, b6-b7 and Kb7, with or without h7-h6. White can try to prevent it with 10. Rd1, where besides the calm 10… Ke8 Black can stick to his original plan with 10… Kc8 11. Ng5 Be8 – in both cases with balanced positions.

White has tried many other possibilities, and the two most common are 10. h3 and 10. b3. A typical follow-up could be 10. h3 h6 11. b3 Kc8 12. Bb2 b6 13. Rad1 Ne7 with c6-c5 and, depending on White’s intentions, Black transfers his light-squared Bishop to c6, e6 or f5.

[Diagram: White to Move] G. Kasparov – V. Kramnik, Astana 2001. One year before this game, in the World Champoionship Match, Kasparov wasn’t able get a single promising position in the Berlin Defense, but this time he won a nice game. How can White a make big advantage in the diagrammed position?

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[December 25, 2016] Dusted Off: Opening Survey by GM Dragan Paunović:
May 2015 Revisited: Trompowsky Attack with 2… Ne4 3. h4 c5 4. dxc5 Qa5+  

This update is a small tribute to our late colleague GM Dragan Paunović. In memory of our dear friend, our Editorial Board will keep updating his lines and articles.

From Hodgson to Rapport, the Trompowsky Attack has been a source of inspiration for creative chess minds. This update continues to showcase some, often borderline extravagant, but always innovative ideas for both sides, including the input from our trusty silicon friends.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black has stopped the first wave of White’s attack and is now ready to chase away his opponent’s pieces and seize the initiative. How can White rekindle his attack and create good practical chances?

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[December 24, 2016] Updated Opening Line by Trajko Nedev:
Sicilian Defense, Scheveningen Variation – English Attack with 6… e6 7. f3

[Line 493 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 7. f3]

Black is practically obliged to go for the sharp 7… b5, since the alternatives, like 7… Nc6 and 7… Be7, allow White to obtain very promising play.

Position arising after 7… b5 8. g4 is examined in our Line 494, while this opening line focuses on equally popular 7… b5 8. Qd2. After the most common 8… b4 9. Na4 Nbd7 White can choose between 10. O-O-O, 10. c4 and 10. Bc4. Black is generally able to obtain balanced positions, though he needs to be very well prepared to avoid falling into difficulties straight out of the opening.

[Diagram: White to Move] Black seems to be doing fine, but his Queen is poorly placed, and that fact can be exploited by White for gaining a long-term initiative!

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